A piece of good news for once has been confirmed for Manchester United as Ousmane Dembélé has been ruled out of the Barcelona side for the Europa League playoff against the Red Devils.
As reported here over the weekend, the injury-prone superstar has once again succumbed to the fickle hand of fate as he sustained a thigh pull in the Blaugrana’s 1-0 win against Girona.
At first it was thought that he might be sidelined for 2-3 weeks, putting his availability for the first leg of the crucial tie in doubt.
But it has now emerged that the injury is a “tear in the rectus femoris of the left leg” that will rule him out for four to five weeks.
The electric winger will therefore miss both legs of the showdown, which take place on the 16th and 23rd of February.
It is the first time that the extra knockout round will be played in the Europa League, with the eight third place finishers in the Champions League groups meeting the eight runners up in the Europa League groups.
With other names including Sporting, Red Bull Salzburg, Bayer Leverkusen and Shahktar Donetsk, United drew the shortest of straws when they pulled Barça out of the hat.
The Blaugrana are flying in La Liga this season and are five points clear of second placed Real Madrid at this stage.
Their form is in no small part thanks to Dembélé’s contribution in a season that had appeared to be the first where major injury would be avoided.
The Frenchman has scored eight goals and provided seven assists in 24 games for the Catalans in all competitions.
He also provided two assists for France as he helped get them to the World Cup final.
United will still have the likes of Robert Lewandowski to contend with, who has scored 13 goals in 15 games for Barça to date. But at least he won’t be getting on the end of crosses whipped in by the seemingly-cursed 25 year old.